NVDA is a free screen reader for PC desktop devices.

NVDA should be tested with the latest version of Firefox. Test using an actual device if possible.

What should I test?

  1. Test the feature by reading every element.
  2. Test the feature by reading headers.
  3. Test the feature by tabbing through links.
  4. Test the feature by reading landmarks.
  5. Test the feature for use of ARIA.

Testing steps

The accessibility acceptance criteria can be used for additional manual testing steps on device, this is written by the Business Analyst and part of their checklist.

General

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Go to the testing url.
  3. Turn NVDA on.
  4. Navigate to the last element in the feature before the feature to be tested, this will ensure you don’t miss any visually hidden/off screen text at the beginning of the feature. Then use ‘Down arrow’ to read through each element in the feature (if you need to go back, ‘Up arrow’).
    • Is all the content read out and make sense?
    • Is the content read out in a logical order following the visual order?
    • Is any content read out more than once?
    • Is any visually hidden/off screen text read out, such as for icons?
    • Do images have alt text?
    • Are there any empty key presses? e.g. You press the keys and you don’t hear anything. If so, this maybe a bug.
  5. Navigate to the last element in the feature before the feature to be tested, then use ‘H’ to read through each heading in the feature (if you need to go back, ‘H + SHIFT’).
    • Are all headings read out and in a logical order?
    • Not sure what headings the feature should read out? You can use a desktop browser tool such as the Web Developer add-on for Chrome or Firefox. (Under ‘Information’ select ‘View Document Outline’ - This will show you the heading structure for the selected page.)
  6. Navigate to the end of the feature before the feature to be tested, then use the ‘TAB’ key to read out all ‘Links’ in the feature (if you need to go back, ‘TAB + SHIFT’).
    • Are all links read out?
    • Is any content that is not a link read out?
  7. Navigate to the end of the feature before the feature to be tested, then use ‘D’ to read through all ‘Landmarks’, in the feature (if you need to go back, ‘D + SHIFT’).
    • Are all landmarks read out?
    • Not sure what landmarks are? See W3C ARIA Landmarks Examples. Not sure what landmarks the feature should read out? See the accessibility acceptance criteria.
  8. ARIA can be used simply to add landmarks/regions/labels to a page or more advanced usage can help with dynmaic content such as page updates or advanced user interface controls such as tabs. Use ‘Down arrow’ to move through the feature checking that all ARIA is being acknowledge/read out correctly. See the accessibility acceptance criteria for details on what should be read out. Still not sure what should be acknowledged/read out? Ask an Accessiblity Champion.

Tables

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Go to the testing url.
  3. Turn NVDA on.
  4. Navigate to the last visible element before the table to be tested, this will ensure you don’t miss any visually hidden/off screen text at the beginning of the table. Then use all the table keyboard shortcuts to go through each element in the table.
    • Are table row and column headers read out for each table cell?
    • Is all the content read out and make sense?
    • Is the content read out in a logical order following the visual order?
    • Is any content read out more than once?
    • Is any visually hidden/off screen text read out, such as for icons?
    • Are there any empty key presses? e.g. You press the keys and you don’t hear anything. If so, this maybe a bug.
  5. Read through table headers by pressing ‘T’ (if you need to go back, ‘T + SHIFT’).
    • Do all tables have a unique caption? Captions help users to find a table and understand what it’s about. e.g. When you navigate to a table using ‘T’ or ‘T + SHIFT’, is a heading announced for the table which helps users understand what the table is about?

Shortcut keys

You will need to use the NVDA modifier key in combination with other keys for some keyboard shortcuts. The modifier key can be configured, if you are using a laptop it’s most likey set to ‘CAPS LOCK’.

  1. Move forwards through every page element: ‘Down arrow’
  2. Move backwards through every page element: ‘Up arrow’
  3. Navigate forwards through headings: ‘H’
  4. Navigate backwards through headings: ‘H + SHIFT’
  5. Navigate forwards through heading levels: ‘1 - 6’
  6. Navigate backwards through heading levels: ‘1 - 6 + SHIFT’
  7. Navigate forwards through links: ‘TAB’
  8. Navigate backwards through links: ‘TAB + SHIFT’
  9. To activate a link: ‘Enter’
  10. To activate a button: ‘Enter or Space bar’
  11. Navigate forwards through landmarks: ‘D’
  12. Navigate backwards through landmarks: ‘D + SHIFT’
  13. Stop NVDA talking: ‘CTRL’
  14. Toggle Screen Layout mode on/off: ‘NVDA + V’

For a full list of shortcut keys see Deque and Webaim.

Screen Layout mode

The default mode for reading content with NVDA is the ‘Screen Layout’ mode. This mode reads content in a similar way to how content is displayed on screen. Turning Screen Layout mode off (NVDA + V), displays content in a linear fashion - putting each element on its own line. For example an inline list in Screen Layout mode could be read out all in one go, if Screen Layout mode is off, then each list item will be placed on it’s own line and be read individually. Screen Layout mode can be useful for reading tables.

Test using other supported assistive technology

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